Thursday, September 6, 2007

Teaser - continued!

Yesterday I mentioned that our MLS feed, sometimes referred to as an IDX (Internet Data Exchange) pull, will give you listings that are currently on the market. I mentioned that the currently part was a teaser. I said that because when I used the word "teaser" I assumed that many of you would have said to yourself, "Self, so is he insinuating that on other websites where we search for homes we are seeing homes that are not currently on the market?" The answer to this question would be, Yes, that is what I am insinuating!

Let me lay a small foundation before I continue. Not every search engine has what is called a "lag time" (a delay in updating properties from Active on the market, to under contract or sold). The majority of the websites run by real estate agents, well, the smart ones at least, will have a live MLS feed, or IDX pull. They have to! If an agent does not have an MLS feed on their website then they are really serving no purpose on the web. A potential buyer does not do a Google search for "homes for sale in Schertz," get the results, click on an agents website, and then hope to see a picture of the real estate agent with their poodle, husband, and 3 kids. A buyer could care less about these things.

Potential buyers also do not care that an agent has won every award under the sun within the real estate community. Yes, integrity, effectiveness, consistency, and a proven track record is important, but it's penultimate to what a buyer really wants when they are looking for a home on the Internet - a live feed to the MLS!

Ok, so a good agent will have an MLS feed on their website. That live feed will have no lag time. But here is a truth - most buyers go to Realtor.Com, Homes.Com, Trulia.Com, or one of the Yahoo/Aol real estate search engines to find a home. Why? Because when you do a search for real estate these are the guys that pop up first because of their SEO (search engine optimization). They have people on staff who do nothing but make sure that they are first on the list in a search. And agents pay a lot of money to these vendors to be a part of their websites, so that when you go to Realtor.Com the paying agent will have their home inventory on the website with all sorts of bells and whistles. See example here --

But here is the issue with most of these vendors, if not all of them - the homes that you are seeing as "on the market" may not actually be on the market anymore! That's a big deal. It's a very big deal, in fact.

Imagine this go to Google, you type in a search for "Schertz real estate," and a list of results pops up. One of the first results will be The Claus Team's personal website. However, the second result will be Homes.Com. And let's say that you have the common misperception that going to the agents website will be a waste of your time, and so you opt for the second choice site; you click on their site, put in the criteria of home that you are looking for, scroll through a myriad of homes, and then decide on a handful. After some careful consideration you narrow the homes down to 2 or 3 that you really have your heart set on. You then make a phone call to the agent about the home. The agent says, "Well, Mr./Mrs. Buyer, that home is actually already under contract and about to close." Your immediate reaction is, "Well then why in the heck was it even on the website if it wasn't available!?" Lag time!

It's a very sad, but all too often true and unfortunate reality that happens. You see, these second party vendors do not pull their information directly and immediately from the MLS. There is a lag time between what is on their website as content vs. what is truly an available property. The lag time is typically 3-5 days. Scary, huh? And the whole situation could have been avoided by going to The Claus Team's website, doing a search for homes that are currently on the market, and having a world class agent take you for a private viewing of the home at your convenience.

Does it make more sense now, the whole "currently" teaser? I guess I could have made this whole blog much shorter by saying, "Make your home search super, super easy by visiting our website at and search the entire MLS for free!" But this was more fun.


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